A calm n quiet evening, cool breeze, a cosy warm couch, fine Darjeeling tea, me n you and a bowl full of crispy hot namkins......sounds so romantic, na? Yes, it definitely is....with a helper and modern cooking range it sounds very romantic. It was not so some 30 years back. As kids we have seen our moms and grand moms sweating while managing everything single handedly. Then frying them on a small oven called stove with fans off was definitely a tedious job. This was not the scene at our home only, but in almost every household....In an average middle class home, homemade food was a natural choice. Not only that, preparing any special recipe in bulk and distributing in the neighbourhood was a part of our culture. The whole neighbourhood was an extended family sort of. As we grew up, living in shelled cocoons, that fine culture died. We hardly know whats going on in the surroundings. Anything beyond 'Hi' n 'Hello' is considered as 'Unwanted Interference'.
Lets go back to our childhood, starting from the last day of Durga Pooja till Diwali, the custom was to visit friends and relatives to greet each other. During this period in every household, the elderly women would lock themselves happily in the kitchen preparing variety of sweets and snacks. Two of them were a must do..... NIMKI [Salted Snacks] and COCONUT LADOOS [Naru]. Nimki was served with tea and a plateful of home made sweets followed whoever visited.
My childhood memories of any festival relates to my maternal grandparent's house. Born and brought up in the lap of my grand mom, being the only child in the family, I was extremely pampered by my uncles n aunts....I may have physically distanced in life's course but the old memories lingers on. I vividly remember my Grandma's kitchen....where the big clay oven was on morning till night. The little lady had undying energy....she is nearing 90, ailing and yes, lonesome....This time I was lucky enough to spend 2 nights with her at my home....and the once high nose expert cook ate whatever I cooked....I got the approval that I can cook....Reviving old memories....I present before you CRISPY HOT NIMKIS which is a perfect tea time snacks to be had in the evening.
All Purpose Flour : 2 big cups
Nigella Seeds : 1tbsp
Oil : 150 ml[for deep frying] + 2tbsp
Ghee[Clarified Butter] : 1tbsp[for a nice aroma]
Salt : 1/4tsp
Take the flour in a bowl. Add 2 tbsp oil, 1tbsp ghee, 1/4tsp salt and the nigella seeds. Rub very well with your palm for about 3-4 minutes. Now add water little by little and keep on rubbing till a soft yet firm dough is formed. This will take about 10-12 minutes. It will appear as below.
Now cover the dough with a soft wet cloth for about 1/2 an hour. This helps the oil to get absorbed well and the dough becomes softer but not soggy.
Now make medium sized balls and flatten with your palms. Dust each balls with flour and shape into round chapatis with help of a rolling pin and base. Once chapatis are rolled, slit lengthwise and cut each strip into diamond shaped NIMKIS...just shown as below.
Transfer into a tray....they may stick to each other. Do not worry at all, once you put them in hot oil, they get separated. Now heat 150 ml oil in a wok. Once the oil is hot reduce heat almost to minimum. Fry the NIMKIS in batches. They should get enough space to move around. Fry till light brown. Transfer to tissue papers first to soak the excess oil and then to a serving bowl. Once cold transfer into an airtight container. Stays crispy upto 15 days. You do not need to refrigerate. To make them crispy, I have used that amount of oil in the flour while making the dough. You have to constantly reduce and increase heat as required while frying.
Your HOT CRISPY NIMKIS[NAMKINS] are ready to be served with your favourite tea/coffee.